Strategy and Sausages:
A British Strategic Planner in Germany
Monday, 6 April 2020
This. And This. And This ...
The streets outside may well be empty, but the dear old information superhighway is getting mighty congested.
Dormant WhatsApp groups are springing into life with the vigour of April tulips.
Long-lost relatives are emailing and Skyping and FaceTiming and StrangeTiming and StaySafeing.
The middle-aged have taken a crash-course in the media of the young, from Zoom to TikTok to Houseparty.
Streaming services have turned into less of a stream and more of a torrential, gushing river in danger of breaking its banks.
Museums, galleries, cinemas and educational establishments have flung open their virtual doors. I have even joined a virtual pub.
Along with all the memes on overdrive and "useful stuff to do if you're bored" (bored????) there's a unstoppable current of mis-information about COVID-19 and previous pandemics, from conspiracy theories to misleading medical advice to manipulated statistics to fake stories.
And meanwhile, many of the "Somewheres" are out of the front line, or wondering whether there will be a Somewhere - a small business, a livelihood, a home - when all this is over.
Talking of "when all this is over", there is also a deluge of seminars, studies and articles speculating on what, exactly, will be the "new normal". No-one knows, of course.
I'm not convinced that the world will become obsessed with hygiene. Maybe in combination with more interest in immunity and how to be better prepared next time.
I'm also not sure about the "online as default" prediction that's flying around. There isn't really a substitute for reality and face-to-face meeting. People are social animals and social media will only take you so far. There's already a yearning to get back together, with "meeting friends" as the Number 1 thing people will do after the crisis.
And will we be better people? Again, for every high-minded soul that's meditating in the morning, dashing off a novel or symphony in the afternoon and delivering essential groceries in the evening, there are plenty sitting around, guzzling down comfort food and too much booze, while bombarding the world with "hilarious" memes. Not to mention the spinners of conspiracy theories and bogus medical advice, the con-artists and the opportunists (thanks, whoever you were with your kind offer of a "free financial consultation" so that I don't lose all of my pension).
When I was little, I wanted to be a spy. I got off to a good start, studying Psychology at Trinity College, Cambridge but somehow got side-tracked into the wonderful world of advertising and marketing.
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